Victim’s mom outraged after driver found not guilty in teen deaths
MARC BENCE/FOR METRO EDMONTON
The mother of a 15-year-old girl killed in a car wreck says justice wasn’t served yesterday when a judge acquitted the teenage driver charged in the death of two of his passengers.
The 17-year-old male, who can’t be named because he’s a minor, was found not guilty in a Sherwood Park courtroom of dangerous driving causing death — a decision that struck a nerve with family members of the two dead teens.
The driver admitted he was reaching speeds of more than 140 km/h on Highway 21 between Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park in a red 1998 Grand Am as he tried to pass a truck that changed lanes in front of him, prompting the rollover crash that killed 15-year-old Melissa Melan and her boyfriend Levi Dorn, 16, on Sept. 7, 2006.
"There is no justice in our legal system," said Melissa’s mother Moneca Melan during a phone interview.
"Right now, I think everyone is in shock. How could this possibly be?"
A provincial court judge ruled the driver’s decision to speed in his attempt to pass the truck would have been the natural instinct of most drivers given the circumstances.
The teen driver wasn’t in attendance for the verdict, as his defence lawyer was his only representative in the courtroom who argued the truck driver was responsible for the collision because of the way the vehicle changed lanes.
"The trial itself was poorly done — the defence attorney based his whole case on blaming another young man in the truck," said Melan.
"The police thoroughly investigated this … but the whole trial was just so poorly, poorly done."
Melan says her family will talk to members of Dorn’s family to help decide whether or not to appeal the decision.
Melan said she also plans to lobby local federal politicians for changes to the justice system.
In a memorial website for Melissa on Facebook, a friend angered by the court decision says she expects justice will never be served for the two deaths.
"Unfortunately, we must wait until this life is over for any true justice to be served," said friend Catlin Boyd through her message on Facebook.
"At the gates of heaven there will be no lawyer to bail anyone out, just God and our two angels.
"Only the truth will be known then."